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One Day Symposium at the site of RAF Calshot on Calshot Spit

Saturday 25th Sep - 10:30 am - 5:00 pm

It was a real disappointment for everyone in the TE Lawrence Society that we had to cancel our 16th Symposium in Oxford planned for the last weekend in September 2021.

In the meantime we have been keen to provide an alternative event on the same weekend this year and we are pleased to announce an exciting One Day event to be held on Saturday 25th September 2021.

This unique event will be at the Calshot Activities Centre, on Calshot Spit at the site of RAF Calshot in Hampshire, a place intimately connected with Lawrence and his work with the Schneider Trophy Air Races and the development of the 200 Class Seaplane Tender at nearby Hythe. 

The TE Lawrence Society has arranged this event with The Army Flying Museum and Hampshire County Council.

The day will feature three presentations related to Lawrence and there will also be a chance to explore Calshot and its sites associated with Lawrence while he was there.

The timeline with presentations is as follows:

10.30 Welcome and Introduction

11.00.  Alison Jolley: ‘One brother in India very remarkable’:T. E.’s favourite brother, Will

Last year’s online Symposium opened with Alison  looking at Will Lawrence’s service in the Royal Flying Corps. Now she returns to speak on a part of Will’s life which has gone almost unrecognised up to now – his association in Delhi, where he taught at a missionary college before the war, with some of Gandhi’s most significant early supporters. What part were the missionaries at the college about to play in drawing Gandhi into the independence movement, and how would having T.E. as a brother guide Will as he too sought to grasp the spirit of the East? 

Alison was previously a speaker at the 2014 Symposium on the friendship between T.E. Lawrence and Lady Kathleen Scott, from whose diary the quotation in the title is taken. Her paper on Will – long recognised as the closest of T.E.’s brothers – appeared in the Spring 2021 edition of the Society’s Journal. Using new material on Will’s RFC service that has emerged since last year’s talk, Alison will conclude with a brief review of these final tragic weeks of his 

12.15 A look at some exciting new acquisitions for the Society and for the NT at Clouds Hill and a discussion on the importance of these.

13.00 Lunch Break and a chance to explore Calshot Spit where there are many interesting reminders of Lawrence’s time there.

14.30 Group Captain John Alexander: Hot Air, Aeroplanes and Arabs; Lawrence and Air Power

The ever-expanding Lawrence literature overlooks the link between his concept of warfare and subsequent choice of the RAF for enlistment. Lawrence’s fame stemmed from the cultural difference between his romantic heroism in the desert and the industrial warfare on the Western Front. Yet pare away the myth and enigma of ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ using historical analysis of the official archives and a re-reading of Seven Pillars of Wisdom and one finds a novel insight of Lawrence as a proponent of air power and a strikingly modern way in warfare, using machines rather than men, and combining aeroplanes and armoured cars with Arab regulars and irregulars. The experience lay behind Lawrence’s subsequent post-war support of the use of air power for colonial control in Iraq and probably influenced his choice of the RAF for enlistment. 

John’s forty-year career in the Royal Air Force and is well placed to talk about Lawrence as he spent two years seconded as an advisor to an Arab force; served in the Hejaz, Iraq and Pakistan; was a visiting research fellow at the University of Oxford; and speaks poor Arabic. Unlike Lawrence, Alexander accepted a commission in the RAF’s ground fighting force, a civil service appointment to write RAF official history, and has spent several years in Afghanistan.

15.45 Vintage film from the archives and a look around Calshot

16.00 Paul Beaver: Lawrence, Calshot and the Schneider Trophy

This discussion will explore Lawrence’s connections with Calshot and Hythe and particularly his work in the ranks on the Schneider Trophy Air Race in 1929. Paul will look a the local angles to the story and much of this has often been overlooked by historians. He will bring a particular insight based on his aviation experience.

Paul Beaver is an aviation historian, broadcaster and writer who is very much a hands-on historian with his own vintage aeroplane company. He is also a Society member and Trustee of the Supermarine Seaplane Charity and has contributed many interesting talks and discussions to the Army Flying Museum programme.

17.00 – 17.30 Close 

The cost for the day is £40 with a buffet lunch and £30 without a buffet lunch. 

There are only 50 tickets available for Society members to attend the day at Calshot and if you wish to book a place, please e mail our Chairman, Philip Neale at [email protected] before Sunday 19th September 2021. You will then be provided with details on how to pay and more details for the day can be supplied.

The day will also be available LIVE as an on-line broadcast on the day, at a cost of £15 and a link with payment details can be found at:




Saturday 25th Sep
10:30 am - 5:00 pm


SO45 1BR
Calshot Activities Centre
Calshot, SO45 1BR United Kingdom
+ Google Map

The international Society for everyone with an interest in the life of T. E. Lawrence